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Finger on a wing's pulse

446th Airlift Wing to welcome new commander

Col. Sean Pierce will assume command of the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Field. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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Col. Sean Pierce is slated to be the 446th Airlift Wing's new commander. A change of command ceremony will be held Saturday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m. at The Club at McChord Field. Col. Scott McLaughlin will relinquish command; he will be reassigned to March Air Force Base, California, as 4th Air Force's director of staff.

The 446th Airlift Wing, known as the Rainier Wing, is comprised of 1,800 combat-ready Reserve citizen airmen to support worldwide airlift operations. Utilizing the C-17 Globemaster III, the reservist provide humanitarian aid to aeromedical evacuation to those in need.

Initially commissioned as an Army aviation officer, Pierce has over 5,000 hours of flight time. He served for 15 years in the Army, assigned in various leadership assignments as an AH-1, UH-1, CH-47 and UH-60 pilot, instructor, evaluator, test pilot and test pilot evaluator.

In 2003, Pierce transferred to the Air Force Reserve Command and has flown aerial refueling, strategic airlift and reconnaissance missions.

For the past two years, he has served as the operations commander of the 446th AW and has his finger on the unit's pulse.

During an aeromedical evacuation training mission in 2016, he experienced as a simulated patient firsthand the caliber of the reservists he will lead.

"For me, medical evacuation missions are the most real and tangible operations you can be a part of," Pierce said during a 446th Airlift Wing interview.  

"The military has been supporting sustained wartime operations for nearly two decades, and being part of medevac missions has shown me firsthand how tremendously skilled and dedicated members of the Aeromedical Evacuation community are to their mission."

For more info about the ceremony, call 253.229.0622 or email

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